LETTER: Scholten represents a ‘vision for a brighter future’

The person we send to Washington this election year should represent our values, our hopes, and a vision for a brighter future. J.D. Scholten, a Sioux City native, presents an opportunity for us to do that.

For 15 years a living embodiment of our worst fears, Steve King has represented us. Fifteen years without a major committee chair, 15 years with the renaming of a post office as his only legislative achievement, 15 years and Iowa’s most rural district has no representation on the farm bill conference committee, 15 years of the most vile quotes about immigrants, Mexicans, Muslims, and just about anyone who is different than him. He is so out of touch with Sioux City’s needs that he advocated eliminating essential benefits such as maternity and pediatric care (according to a video link taken from his Facebook page) and he has said many times he wants to repeal pre-existing condition coverage from the Affordable Care Act. He wants to repeal the ACA entirely and that he has said many times, so by extension that includes everything within the ACA.

He does not represent the people I have come to know since making Sioux City my home. I almost didn’t move here because of Steve King and his views. He is holding this area back and discouraging our young people from returning. We’ve grown so numb to his outrageous views that our local media rarely covers it and when they do it’s as a disinterested third party.

This is your opportunity to make a difference. Look up J.D. Scholten, take the opportunity to talk with him at one of his many campaign stops. Your vote matters. Get involved and decide that the future you want for Iowa holds our best traits and not our worst fears. – Jeremy Granger, M.D., Sioux City

Full letter: https://siouxcityjournal.com/opinion/letters/letter-scholten-represents-a-vision-for-a-brighter-future/article_98a28837-0470-54a0-a2fe-9f8f39cbac8d.html

Think Progress: Steve King’s Democratic challenger is snapping at his heels

SIOUX CITY, IOWA — Iowa’s 4th District is not exactly what you’d call ideal territory for a first-time Democratic congressional candidate.

During the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump trounced Hillary Clinton throughout the district. For the past 16 years, it has been represented in Washington by far-right, anti-immigrant Republican Congressman Steve King.

The strength of that conservative support is on full display at a diner in the town of Cherokee, where Fox News blares in the background and a sign reading “I stand for the flag and kneel for Jesus” hangs on the wall as decoration.

In a few hours, King’s Democratic challenger, J.D. Scholten, will hold a town hall. A paltry 12 people have said they will attend on the event’s Facebook page. But at the event at least three dozen people are present, a pleasant surprise to Scholten’s campaign.

A few hours later, at a second town hall in Spirit Lake, more than 180 people show up, ready to give their support to former professional baseball player Scholten. Harold Prior, chairman of the Dickinson County Democrats, proudly says it’s their biggest town hall turn-out yet.

In Washington D.C., Steve King has garnered an infamous reputation for parroting racist and white supremacist talking points. He’s re-tweeted British neo-Nazis, garnered praise from the Daily Stormer, mocked Parkland activist Emma Gonzalez’s Cuban heritage, made frequent trips to Austria’s far-right government, and infamously said in 2017 that “we can’t restore our civilization with someone else’s babies,” comments on which he later doubled-down.

But King’s racist rhetoric isn’t what Scholten is talking to voters about. Instead, he’s maintaining a laser-like focus on the issues and accusing King of forgetting who his constituents are — a talking point at both town halls.

Scholten hits King specifically over his failure to author any legislation — the only bill King has authored since taking office 16 years ago was to rename a post office which isn’t even in his district anymore — and takes aim at King’s stances on inequality, healthcare, and agriculture.

“I get very frustrated with King when it comes to agriculture,” Scholten says at a town hall in Dickinson. “In the 16 years [King’s] been the incumbent, he’s had the opportunity to be chairmen of agriculture committee, but he’s not even on the farm bill committee, he’s abdicated his leadership.”

Scholten says he wants to fight to reduce corporate consolidation of the agriculture business, give communities local control over protecting their air and water quality from large-scale hog farms and stop Trump’s trade war, which Scholten says amounts to “borrowing money from China to give to our farmers to not sell their products to the Chinese.”

“The folks who come out to these events are the more engaged voters, and I don’t need to tell them what they already know [about Steve King],” Scholten tells ThinkProgress later that evening. “I want to make sure they go away knowing what my values are and show the contrasting not only values but styles.”

Scholten’s regional focus and refusal to get dragged into a name-calling contest with King has been received positively by community members, who say they’re as tired of King’s inaction and refusal to address the needs of his constituents as they are with his racist commentary.

“I think everyone’s a bit tired of King’s hate and rhetoric, and actually even his record. He hasn’t done much for this county,” Anita Sorensen, a legal assistant from Sioux County, tells ThinkProgress. “He’s been there too long, we need a change and J.D. brings that. He’s sincere and wants to work for the county instead of showing up on the news and inflating his own ego.”

“All Steve King does is exist to offend as many people as possible,” says John Adams, former chair of the Dickinson county GOP. “I have an African-American granddaughter and she would not fit his mold at all, and that’s another reason I’m really into J.D. King’s been in office for 16 years and he’s authored one bill, so what does that tell you?”

Adams says he’s voted for every GOP candidate from Goldwater to Romney. He adds, however, that the Republican party’s refusal to stand up to President Trump, coupled with his experience attending the March for Our Lives rally in Washington with his granddaughter, led him to switch over to the Democrats.

“The biggest thing in Iowa for me is Medicare,” he says. “[More specifically], the fact that Republicans have privatized Medicare in Iowa and it’s been a wreck. I know people on Medicaid who now can’t get their batteries for their electric scooters.”

The enthusiasm for Scholten, and voters’ frustrations with King, appear to be paying off in the polls: in early September, Scholten was 10 points behind King, but that deficit has since shrunk to six points. Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a nationally-recognized politically handicapper, has moved King’s district from “safe Republican” to “likely Republican.”

King is still favored to win, but bearing in mind he’s won his previous seven re-elections by an average of 23 points, the race is fast becoming a bit too close for King’s comfort.

Not everything is rose-tinted for the Scholten campaign. They lack support from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), an organization with which J.D. admits he has “a lot of issues.” And while the poll that showed Scholten only six points behind King was welcomed by the campaign, it also noted he was still suffering from low name recognition, which could factor into voters’ decisions come Election Day.

As a Democrat in a historically deep-red district, Scholten faces the unenviable task of translating the excitement generated by more outwardly progressive candidates into a formula more marketable to Iowans. But if he manages to do do it, he could score a crucial victory that would undoubtedly send shock waves through the Republican Party.

“In order to be a government of the people, by the people, for the people, you need to include the people,” he said at a recent campaign stop in Storm Lake, Iowa. “…My commitment is to this district. I’m trying to show that through this campaign.”

He added, confidently, “This race is absolutely winnable.”

Full article: https://thinkprogress.org/iowa-jd-scholten-steve-kings-election-ea0a95e674bf/

LETTER: Steve King: A ‘do-nothing’ member of Congress

In a recent Journal online poll, “Should Steve King and J.D. Scholten debate?”, a majority of 86 percent voted a resounding “yes. The Journal published an editorial on Sept. 16 in support of a debate between the two candidates.

Then why does Steve King refuse to debate? Because King has everything to lose and nothing to gain. I feel in a debate he will be exposed as a bigot, he sticks his foot in his mouth continually, and he has done nothing in over 12 years as Iowa’s 4th District representative. He was once ranked the least effective member of Congress based upon how many of his bills have moved forward in the legislative process.

While I realize that Steve King is hard to beat due to the 4th District’s high number of registered Republicans, would it not be better to have a do-something Democrat like J.D. Scholten than a do-nothing Republican Steve King?

Wake up, Iowa 4th District, and show Steve King that he cannot continue to do nothing, including debate his competition, J.D. Scholten, and get re-elected. – Carl Hardy, Sioux City

Full letter: https://siouxcityjournal.com/opinion/letters/letter-steve-king-a-do-nothing-member-of-congress/article_698dafb7-7fa4-524a-9083-3e0eff4cd27d.html


Can you tell us a little bit about your race?
I am running to defeat Tedd Gassman and become the 7th District Representative in the Iowa House. This district includes all of Winnebago and Emmet counties, and the northern part of Kossuth County. I hope to have canvassed every community in my district by Election Day. 

What sets you apart from your opponent?
My opponent consistently states his greatest priority is to strengthen families, yet his definition of family is narrow. He openly states he wants to make divorce difficult and same-sex marriage illegal. In my former career as a public health nurse, I advocated for all types of families no matter how many mothers or fathers and grandfathers or grandmothers helped make their family complete. When elected, I’ll work to strengthen all families.

I will work for and represent all people in the district rather than work for a personal ideology that is not relevant in today’s world. I will also advocate for our district’s students by funding all levels of public education rather than diverting funds to out-of-state corporations through tax credits.

Past or present, what political figure or figures do you look up to?
Barack Obama. He came from humble beginnings and remained humble and genuine in the way he connected with people throughout his eight years in office. He took office as our country was on the brink of a deep recession and got to work stabilizing our economy. The same type of stabilizing must happen when reversing the damaging effects of Medicaid privatization. It can and must be done.  

What inspired you to run for office?
• Knowing my opponent was 10 days from not having a Democrat to run against.
• Being asked by someone who believed in me as a candidate then having my husband also tell me I should run.
• Realizing I could have a positive impact addressing concerns about Medicaid privatization, healthcare (which include mental healthcare), education, the environment, and workers’ rights.

Can you tell us a fun fact about yourself that we wouldn’t find on your website?
I have no fear of heights. A few years ago, I painted the exterior of our three-story Victorian home using an extension ladder with my husband as my spotter. I’ll offer one more: I alphabetize my soup cans.

Lastly, what’s your opinion of Steve King?
Steve King has grown bolder in expressing extreme viewpoints that are unlike the Iowa and America I know and love. Our state is harmed by his strong anti-immigration position and comments that stoke fears about differences. Too often, his statements feed hostility. At our best, we are welcoming, good neighbors. Steve King does not represent the best of Iowa or our country.

Learn more about Deb Jensen at the links below:

Website:  https://www.debrajensenforiowa.com/​

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/DebJensenforIowaHouse/​

CBC Online: 4th District Congressional Candidate, J.D. Scholten, Draws Large Crowd At Carroll Town Hall Meeting

J.D. Scholten, the Democratic candidate challenging Republican incumbent, Steve King, for Iowa’s 4th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, is drawing large crowds during his third, 39-county tour. Scholten, a first-time candidate who launched his campaign 14 months ago, spoke to a full room Wednesday night at DMACC in Carroll. In just over a year, he has gone from a relatively unknown candidate to trailing King by only six percent, according to a recent poll from Expedition Strategies. Scholten says support continues to grow because he intends to challenge the status quo in our nation’s capital.

If elected, Scholten’s first priority will be changes to healthcare in the United States. According to him, the current state of the industry is unacceptable for the wealthiest country in the world. His long-term goal is to see Medicare for all, but he is not opposed to working with other ideas, as long as it benefits Iowans.

Another top priority for Scholten is providing economic opportunities within the district. He says the reports of a strong national economy are not matching what he is seeing on the campaign trail.

Scholten proposes what he calls “a new rural economy.” His plan entails investing in the nation’s infrastructure, particularly in less populated areas, strengthening workers’ rights and providing easier access to high quality education by supporting community colleges and public universities. After addressing the crowd, Scholten opened the town hall for questions, and many of them concerned gun control. Scholten responded, saying he is not opposed to common-sense changes, such as increased background checks and red flag laws, but it is also important to remember that gun rights are protected.

He adds that if gun rights supporters continue refusing to discuss the issue, change will be difficult to implement. Scholten has six additional town hall meetings scheduled before the end of the month. The dates, times and locations for those meetings, as well as the full audio from Wednesday night can be found included with this story on our website.

Full article: https://www.1380kcim.com/news/2018/4th-district-congressional-candidate-j-d-scholten-draws-large-crowd-at-carroll-town-hall-meeting/

King Only Leads by 6% To Unknown J.D. Scholten On The Initial Ballot

A new poll released by the Scholten campaign and conducted by Expedition Strategies shows Democratic candidate J.D. Scholten only six points behind eight-term incumbent Steve King. The poll also shows low name recognition for Scholten suggesting he has significant room to move the race even further in his direction. Expedition Strategies conducted 380 total interviews in IA-04 with a sample of likely 2018 general
election voters.

IA-04 Polling.pdf

OUR OPINION: King-Scholten debate in best interests of Iowa’s 4th District

A spirited public exchange of ideas has been a hallmark of American politics for generations, offering voters an invaluable opportunity to compare candidates for elected office.

That’s why we’re disappointed that Iowa 4th District Rep. Steve King has resisted invitations to debate his Democratic opponent J.D. Scholten, prior to the Nov. 6 general election.

As even occasional readers of Our Opinion know, members of our editorial board repeatedly have called for public debates of candidates for any public office. And, we have taken King to task for shunning debates in the past.

King, an eight-term incumbent, refused to debate his fall opponents in his first five campaigns, from 2002-2010. Facing a well-known and well-financed Democratic opponent in 2012, Christie Vilsack, wife of a former Iowa governor, King changed his approach, agreeing to a series of seven debates that cycle. In the next election, he debated Democrat Jim Mowrer once.

In 2016, in his first primary challenge, King also faced off once with Republican state Sen. Rick Bertrand in Sioux City. But after winning the primary that year, the GOP congressman refused to schedule any debates with the Democratic nominee, Kim Weaver.

Last week, Scholten, in a campaign video, challenged King to three debates. Scholten reiterated his challenge at a news conference Friday in Sioux City.

We won’t argue that three debates are the right number, but we hope the two camps agree to at least one. If that happens, we believe it should take place in Sioux City, the largest city in the sprawling 4th District, which covers 39 counties in northwest and northcentral Iowa.

King contends that because there’s not a clear division on major issues between the two candidates, a debate would serve little purpose other than to allow his challenger to “just call me names.”

We reject that excuse.

Because the 4th District tilts heavily Republican and King’s name recognition in the district is greater than Scholten, a paralegal and former professional baseball player, it would be easy for King to play it safe and not give his opponent a high-profile platform to introduce himself to more voters. While King remains a favorite, there are good reasons to believe this year’s contest won’t be the slam dunk that he has experienced in some other elections.

King’s outspokenness on immigration and other issues, Scholten’s robust fundraising and the blue-tinted mood of national voters upset with GOP President Donald Trump all give the Democratic challenger a fighting chance of pulling off an upset. King, who swamped Weaver by 22 points two years ago, led Scholten by just 10 points, 41-31 in an Emerson College poll released last week.

A public debate, in particular, could help undecided voters make a more informed choice at the ballot box.

Like voters across the country, we believe most all 4th District voters expect and deserve to see the two candidates on the same stage, offering their views and solutions on a myriad of issues facing the district, our state and our nation.

Full article: https://siouxcityjournal.com/opinion/editorial/our-opinion-king-scholten-debate-in-best-interests-of-iowa/article_98740650-8af7-5f0d-8856-34e809ef6b29.html

SCJ: Scholten within striking distance of King, poll says

DES MOINES — Western Iowa’s seemingly untouchable congressman is vulnerable in the upcoming election, if a new public opinion poll is to be believed.

Republican U.S. Rep. Steve King, who has represented the conservative stronghold that is western Iowa’s 4th District since 2003, leads Democratic challenger J.D. Scholten by just 6 points in a poll made available this weekend by Scholten’s campaign.

The poll was conducted by Washington, D.C.-based Expedition Strategies. The poll surveyed 380 likely voters from Sept. 5 through Sept. 9. The poll’s margin for error is plus or minus 5 percentage points.

King received support from 43 percent of likely voters in the poll; Scholten was at 37 percent.

If the poll is an accurate snapshot of how 4th District voters feel about the race, the race is closer than King is accustomed. Despite regularly making comments on issues like immigration that produce widespread backlash, sometimes from his fellow Republicans, King has won his re-election bids by 27, 22, 22, 32, 8, 23 and 22 percentage points.

“We thought it was doable. We’ve gotten that feeling in the last 14 months,” Scholten said Saturday. “(The poll) showed that what we were seeing and my gut instinct was right.”

The 38-year-old Scholten is a Sioux City native and former professional baseball player.

An Emerson College poll published this past week showed King with a 10-point lead over Scholten.

Data within a December 2017 Iowa Poll showed 4th District voters favored a generic Republican candidate over a generic Democratic candidate by just 3 percentage points, 39 to 36.

The King campaign did not immediately respond to an offer to comment on the new poll.

Full article: https://siouxcityjournal.com/news/state-and-regional/iowa/scholten-within-striking-distance-of-king-poll-says/article_13fdf63e-2698-587b-adb4-4b874c2a9b66.html

KSFY: Iowa U.S. House candidate calls out incumbent for refusing to debate

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – The general election is now less than two months away, and candidate for a seat in the U.S. House representing the 4th District of Iowa JD Scholten is throwing his second pitch for a debate with Congressman Steve King.

KCAU reports Scholten originally challenged King to either a face-to-face debate or a free throw contest, but the Republican incumbent has not agreed to either.

Now, the former professional baseball player is saying if King does not agree to a debate, he will debate a cardboard cutout of the congressman.

“Out doing public events, he’s not doing town halls where he looks his constituents in the eye,” Scholten said. “Now, he’s not holding debates, and so he’s really abdicated his leadership for his own personal agenda, and so we are calling for these debates to hold him accountable for his abdication.”

Scholten also announced he is launching a 39-countywide tour that he is calling “You Can’t Fake Showing Up.”

His first stop will be in Storm Lake on Tuesday.

Full Article: https://www.ksfy.com/content/news/Iowa-US-House-candidate-calls-out-incumbent-for-refusing-to-debate–493355801.html

Huffington Post – Republican Rep. Steve King Retweets A Known White Supremacist On Twitter… Again

For the second time in three months, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) has promoted the views of a prominent white nationalist on Twitter.

In a tweet posted early Wednesday afternoon, King quote-tweeted Lana Lokteff, a host for the white nationalist media outfit Red Ice, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated a hate group.

In his tweet, King argued incorrectly that Nazis were part of a left-wing movement.

The word “Nazi,” King wrote, “is injected into Leftist talking points because the worn out & exhausted ‘racist’ is over used & applied to everyone who lacks melanin & who fail to virtue signal at the requisite frequency & decibels. But…Nazis were socialists & Leftists are socialists.”

The tweet was identical to one King posted on Sept. 9. This time, though, he linked to the tweet from Lokteff.

As documented by the site Right Wing Watch, Lokteff is an out-and-proud white nationalist who has talked openly of wanting a white ethnostate. She has said America “can never, ever be too white,” and has argued that interracial relationships are “more devious than blatant in-your-face mass murdering.”

She is also explicitly anti-Semitic. “#SeinfeldTaughtMe why people don’t like Jews,” she once tweeted.

In 2016, Lokteff appeared on the podcast of former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke. “Thanks for listening!” she tweeted afterward. “Nothing like coffee and David Duke to start your day.”

Lokteff runs the white nationalist propaganda site Red Ice TV with her husband, Henrik Palmgren. The site has posted videos of flattering interviews with prominent white supremacists, including “alt-right” figurehead Richard Spencer.

King’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday about whether he condones Lokteff’s views, whether he’s concerned his views align with those of white nationalists, or whether a U.S. congressman should be amplifying the message of someone like Lokteff.

In June, King promoted an anti-immigrant tweet from Mark Collett, a well-known British neo-Nazi. He then refused to delete the tweet or apologize.

King has deep ties to white nationalists and other extremist far-right figures in the U.S. and Europe. He also has a long, long history of making racist and bigoted comments.

HuffPost argued in July that King himself should be labeled a white supremacist. When HuffPost asked the congressman on Capitol Hill whether he considers himself a white supremacist, he refused to answer the question.

Meanwhile, the Republican Party has let King’s bigotry go unpunished. The Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee didn’t respond to requests for comment Wednesday about whether they condone King promoting known white nationalists on Twitter.

King, an eight-term congressman, faces a re-election battle this November against Democrat J.D. Scholten.

Full article: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/steve-king-tweets-white-nationalist-lana-lokteff_us_5b995994e4b0511db3e8a0fc